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Anatel considers forfeiture of Oi’s fixed voice concession

19 May 2023

Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has opened the process to evaluate the forfeiture of Oi’s fixed switched telephone services (servicos de telefonia fixa comutada, STFC) concession. The review of the licensing situation commenced on 8 May and was prompted by Oi’s failure to fulfil certain universal service and backhaul obligations by December 2022.

By ceasing to be a concessionaire, the cash-strapped telco would have more freedom to seek an investor to assume its debts and take over its operations without having to adhere to the strict regulatory obligations connected to the concession. However, forfeiture of the STFC licence is one of several regulatory options on the table. Oi could be allowed to migrate to an authorisation licensing model, meaning an end to the arbitration process. Alternatively, the STFC regime could be ended by government decree.

TeleGeography notes that Oi is the STFC concessionaire responsible for Regions I and II, which include all Brazilian states except Sao Paulo and the Distrito Federal (DF). The company’s current concession agreements are valid until 31 December 2025. The debt-wracked telco closed out December 2022 with 7.771 million fixed voice subscriptions, down from 8.651 million one year earlier, and a peak of 21.293 million at end-2009.

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